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Frome Road
Level 5, Medical School North Bldg
The University of Adelaide

Telephone:   +61 8 8303 5571
Facsimilie:   +61 8 8224 0685


International Programme in Addiction Studies

The International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS) is a unique outstanding program. Academic staff of the University of Adelaide (Australia), King's College London (UK) and Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) are jointly offering IPAS fully online. Join students from around the globe to learn about addiction, what it is and how we can treat it. This is the most comprehensive and broad program around; all courses were designed for this degree and have an addiction focus.

Apply now:

The next class will start in August 2017 and applications will be managed by VCU. Please visit for all the up to date information.

The deadline for application is August 1 2017.

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Celebrating recent graduates

Congratulations to all our recent graduates. We were fortunate to celebrate the graduation of one of our stellar MSC in Addiction Studies student Jeanne Marie. With students from around the world and a choice of graduation ceremonies, we love the chance to be there on that special moment.


News: Addiction in undergraduate!

The University of Adelaide will now also be teaching Addiction in the undergraduate degrees! We are developing a new major in Addiction and Mental Health for the Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences. Check out the great degree here

The Adelaide team is teaching a free online course on Managing addiction. Enroll now!

Alumni survey: very high satisfaction and impact on career

A 2015 survey of all IPAS alumni who completed the MSc in Addiction Studies showed great satisfaction with the degree, the teaching and the team. 96 Percent indicated to be satisfied or very satisfied! One alumnus commented: “The program broadened my career prospects and gave me a wide range of national and international opportunities.”

To read what our alumni say click here.

New: Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in International Addiction Studies using the IPAS courses!

The IPAS degrees use the same courses with the GradCert comprising 3 courses (12 credits), the GradDip 6 (24 credits) and the MSc 8 (36 credits).

Graduate Certificate in International Addiction Studies

Biological Basis of Addiction
Public Health Approaches to Addiction
Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions

Graduate Diploma in International Addiction Studies

Addiction Policies
Biological Basis of Addiction
Public Health Approaches to Addiction
Treatment of Addiction: Critical Issues
Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies
Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions


Master of Science in Addiction Studies

Addiction Policies
Biological Basis of Addiction
Public Health Approaches to Addiction
Treatment of Addiction: Critical Issues
Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies
Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions
Research Methods in Addiction
Research project


Your point of contact:

Our US partner Virginia Commonwealth University will be the primary point of contact for all students. Please visit their website for up-to-date information at



Congratulations to the students who are about to graduate from the IPAS programme! We are very proud of the accomplished students who have chosen to further their career by studying IPAS. The exciting mix of students from different countries and professional backgrounds adds a special dimension to this program. Many of our alumni have been able to reach their career goals and have started new jobs or have been admitted to research degrees.

A special word of praise goes to Carina Walters who has received the award for highest average mark in the MSc in Addiction Studies degree for 2014.


In the news

BalsterProf. Robert Balster, one of the founding co-program directors of IPAS, was honoured with 2014 VCU Presidential Medallion. The Presidential Medallion is a high honour bestowed by Virginia Commonwealth University and is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions by a member of the university community. The award recognizes extraordinary achievement in the world of learning and dedication to Virginia Commonwealth University as evidenced by a series of outstanding contributions to several areas of university life.Read more



IPAS librarians from three universities join forces to improve student learning. Please read the news item "Virtual library to provide information infrastructure for international addiction studies students" Tutorials, webinars and interactive content will help students understand the geographic scope, types and quality of published and unpublished information and data available to answer addiction-specific questions, search databases from multiple disciplines and world regions, locate grey literature, evaluate critically all source types, and apply, and create and disseminate information ethically. Read more


Femke Buisman-Pijlman, the University of Adelaide Program director of IPAS, is Guest editor for a special issue from the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. The special covers the latest research in The Role of Oxytocin in Positive Affect and Drug-related Reward. Her own paper on the role of the individual differences in the endogenous oxytocin system affecting susceptibility to addiction was warmly received. The news was published on news sites worldwide. Read more


Excellent outcome of independent program review of Master of Science in Addiction Studies degree. In 2013, an external review panel reviewed the academic content, teaching practises and outcomes of our program. The experts were very impressed by the unique program and the way we manage the online courses. They praised the collaboration and celebrated the initiatives that we are developing such as a joined Graduate Certificate and Diploma as part of IPAS. In 2014, this program was again evaluated by an external panel at The University of Adelaide with great results.

Prof. Kenneth Kendler

IPAS expert Prof. Kenneth Kendler (VCU) was honoured not once, but twice as the recipient of the Ming Stung Lifetime achievement award from the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics, and with the Jean Delay Prize from the World Psychiatric Association. The latter award is sometimes regarded as the “Nobel Prize” of psychiatry. We are proud to have such an outstanding clinician teaching in our program.




Femke Buisman-Pijlman's awardIPAS Program director dr. Femke Buisman-Pijlman (University of Adelaide) was awarded a State teaching award in the South Australian Science Excellence awards. She was awarded an award for South Australian Early Career Science Educator of the Year - Tertiary Education. She received the award during a gala dinner in the presence of the three Vice-Chancellors of Flinders University, UniSA and the University of Adelaide. The award comprises a certificate, a trophy and prize money of $10,000.



Profile new students:

Students who joined the program in 2014 are again of the highest calibre: mature age professionals in the addiction field with a desire to become generalists. We have students from all over the world. Several Australian medical practitioners with senior positions have joined us to be able to get their registration at the Chapter of Addiction Medicine. Other Australian Addiction professional with a psychology or sociology background have joined us this year for their professional development. Understanding the addiction field in all its diversity helps them progress their career. We have been fortunate to have very accomplished students; some already have a Master or PhD degree. All bring in valuable experience in the field, which enriches the learning experience for all students.


IPAS at a glance:

  • Successful students will receive a degree conferred by the three universities together!
  • There are now three fully online degree levels: Master of Science in Addiction Studies; Graduate Diploma in International Addiction Studies and Graduate Certificate in International Addiction Studies,
  • The programme will develop professionals who are highly prepared to assume leadership roles in the addictions field throughout the world. It is appropriate for recent graduates and professionals working in a range of fields such as health, law enforcement, policy and education.
  • IPAS is a programme offered both full-time and part-time that is taught via distance education. No on-campus attendance is required at any time. Students from all countries can enter the programme, but teaching and exams will be in English only. 
  • Students will be taught the latest scientific developments using modern techniques. Since all three universities are world leaders in different areas of addiction studies, the programme will offer broad exposure to a wide range of addiction-related topics.  
  • Lecturers will be selected from among the world's leaders in the field in each of the subject areas, while programme directors will be faculty members of the three participating universities. Read more about teaching staff.
  • Students who successfully complete the programme requirements will be awarded a Master of Science in Addiction Studies from all three Universities.
  • Since you will pay VCU directly, you will not be able to apply for Fee-Help (HECS)

Special IPAS scholarships

Outstanding students may be able to apply for one of several half tuition scholarships. These will pay part of your tuition as you go. Please check application deadlines on the VCU website.



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